'Don Manué', an unrepeatable icon | Soccer | Sports | EUROtoday

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“We were in the ICU. Nobody gave a penny for us and now I leave you a clean Betis and in First Division.” This legendary part of Manuel Ruiz de Lopera, who died at daybreak on Saturday on the age of 79, represents very effectively one of the vital necessary leaders within the historical past of Betis and, additionally, of Spanish soccer. It occurred in 1994, after Betis's promotion to First Division. He led the inexperienced and white ship from 1992 to 2010. Lopera was a singular character, Betic to the core, who cast his fortune through the Franco regime.

Known as Lete in Seville within the late Fifties and Sixties, he turned wealthy promoting family home equipment to the decrease lessons. The formulation, progressive on the time, was installment gross sales. Lopera at all times lived within the Sevillian neighborhood of El Fontanal and on the finish of the seventies he started to be a part of the Betis atmosphere after rising together with his companies in the true property sphere. He at all times boasted of getting earned his first million pesetas on the age of 20 and of with the ability to “see a thousand-peseta bill behind a partition.” This was Don Manué, as he was identified by the inexperienced and white followers.

His profession reveals a pacesetter who reigned with out controversy in Betis and Andalusian soccer between 1994 and 2006. His Betis gained a Cup in 2005 and performed within the Champions League for the primary time in historical past. Essential within the trajectory of the Andalusian membership, Lopera took one other step. His persona and manner of doing issues set a pattern in a key period in Spanish soccer. He was a part of an unforgettable soccer scene alongside presidents similar to Jesús Gil, from Atlético, José Luis Núñez, from Barcelona, ​​José María Caneda, from Compostela, Ramón Mendoza and Lorenzo Sanz from Real Madrid or Luis Cuervas and José María del Nido in Sevilla. .

Lopera took management of Betis in 1992, simply on the time of the membership's conversion right into a Sociedad Anónima Deportiva. Since that 12 months he left memorable moments within the historical past of Betis. For instance, he recorded a surreal video of how he saved Betis from disappearance in 1992 by staging the decision to the financial institution demanding 800 million pesetas. “We have not given the joy to those people who had the champagne ready to toast the death of Betis,” Lopera acknowledged in that video from the mid-nineties, at which period he signed gamers like Alfonso, Jarni or Finidi to do a Betis that might be runner-up within the Cup in 1997 and fourth categorised.

Lopera went one step additional by making the most costly signing within the historical past of soccer in 1997: he paid 5,000 million pesetas for Denilson, a Sâo Paulo participant. Curiously, the arrival of Denilson and the development of the brand new Betis stadium marked a primary decline for his Betis, which went all the way down to Second in 2000. He had established a somewhat peculiar manner of governing Betis. Associated firms similar to Tegasa or Farusa took over the membership's belongings and exploited them.

“Tegasa, everything stays at home,” Lopera himself would say, who on many events paid bonuses to the gamers with reward vouchers from El Corte Inglés. “On Monday your wives will be climbing the stairs to buy,” he informed the footballers. At these conferences, the only gamers, for whom there have been no bonuses, complained to the supervisor. He made the footballers pay for every shirt they gave away and for parking on the stadium.

Famous folks additionally did their negotiations at their home on Calle Jabugo in Seville. There he uncovered brokers and footballers to marathon conferences. Also at her home, the place she has a theater, artists like Rocío Jurado or the Dúo Dinático carried out to please her mom. There she watched Betis video games together with his canine Hugo. “He stands up when Betis scores a goal,” she stated.

Lopera's persona hardly modified over time. His Betis returned triumphantly, profitable the Cup in 2005 and enjoying within the Champions League. He continued doing his factor. For instance, going to a gamers' celebration on Halloween Night at footballer Benjamín's home. “Girls kept coming in. When we entered, some of them were doing physical exercise without any clothes on. Some players jumped out of the window, including Joaquín,” Lopera would say about this episode.

His specific relationship with Joaquín additionally marked an necessary stage. After profitable the Cup in 2005, the trophy presided over the altar at his marriage ceremony. Just a 12 months later, he threatened to switch him to Albacete. “It is always sad to say goodbye to a friend and a person with whom you have met in so many good times. He has been a person who will be remembered all his life within Betis and I am not spiteful,” stated Joaquín himself on the funeral residence.

Lopera's star light in his final stage between 2006 and 2010. “The Betis will never forget me,” he acknowledged in one among his final statements. Lopera can be cremated this Monday afternoon and his ashes can be deposited within the columbarium of the Brotherhood of Great Power, of which he was a devotee. Holy Week was one other of his passions.

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